Final farewell to Fr Godfrey
PUBLISHED: 07:24 12 October 2006 | UPDATED: 21:21 29 May 2010
DUNMOW S Catholic community is in mourning following the death of Father Gordon Godfrey. Fr Godfrey had been the parish priest for 18 years at the churches of Our Lady and St Anne Line, Great Dunmow, and Our Lady of Lourdes in Hatfield Broad Oak. He died
DUNMOW'S Catholic community is in mourning following the death of Father Gordon Godfrey.
Fr Godfrey had been the parish priest for 18 years at the churches of Our Lady and St Anne Line, Great Dunmow, and Our Lady of Lourdes in Hatfield Broad Oak. He died on September 27 and will be greatly missed by his family, friends and parishioners.
Born in Ilford in 1923, he spent his childhood in Leigh-on-Sea. He then served on minesweepers during the Second World War and afterwards, worked in a bank.
He was a convert to Catholicism and was received into the church on December 20, 1945.
Two years later he started his training for the priesthood, studying at Osterly and then St Suplice in Paris (hence his fluency in the French language).
After his ordination, he was secretary to Bishop Wall, the then Bishop of the Brentwood diocese, before becoming a parish priest. He also served as chaplain to The Apostleship of the Sea and as chaplain to Evelyn Ward-Thomas during her term of office as
Sheriff of Essex.
Fr Godfrey was parish priest of various parishes in the diocese of Brentwood before coming to Great Dunmow in 1988.
He was a colourful character and was well-known in the town, sporting his baseball cap, jeans and leather jacket. Many local people were quite surprised to learn that he was a man of the cloth - someone even saying that he was a "re-constituted teenager".
Steam trains, buses and trams were Fr Godfrey's great interest and he was also an expert model-maker, very well-travelled and a mine of information.
His funeral took place on Friday in his parish church in Mill Lane, Gt Dunmow. The church was filled to capacity and the requiem mass was concelebrated by fellow
priests from the diocese and two bishops - Rt Rev Thomas McMahon, Bishop of Brentwood (who presided), and Bishop O'Brian from Westminster Diocese.
Among the mourners was Fr Godfrey's twin brother Peter, who gave a moving eulogy, his niece and nephews, many friends and past and present parishioners. His love of the sea was reflected in one of the hymns chosen - For Those in Peril on the Sea.
Fr Gordon was recently admitted to the London Independent Hospital for replacement heart valve surgery. He was buried in St Mary's Churchyard.